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John Carter (2012)
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
For intense sequences of violence and action
Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Polly Walker, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Hayden Church, Willem Dafoe
Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon
John Carter (2012)
The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter, who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris. In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.
John Carter (2012) | Review
The Story That Helped Redefine the Sci Fi Genre
The problem may have been a bad publicity campaign or just a lack of information about the story, but I thoroughly enjoyed my movie-going experience. Even a month after I saw the film in theaters, people kept asking who John Carter was, as if he was the lead actor in the movie. Named after the lead character in Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel, The Princess of Mars, the film John Carter tells the hundred year-old story of a man transplanted to Barsoom (Mars) and forced to help defend the planet during its civil war.
Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights, Battleship) stars at the titular character in the film, a Civil War captain from Earth who is haunted by the loss of his family and the atrocities that happened during the war. He has become a drunkard and a hermit, babbling on about some secret cave and a treasure he has to find.
When news spreads of his death and funeral, his favorite nephew "Ned" (a clever tie-in of the author, Edgard Rice Burroughs) is called to Carter's estate to collect his inheritance, and becomes enamored with his uncle's writings of far off worlds and a princess of Mars.
Flash back to Carter's past, where we see his discovery of a planetary warp, which allows him to visit Barsoom. After learning the new freedoms of less gravity, he is captured by aliens of the Thark race and brought before their leader, Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). His tremendous jumping ability and bravery wins him the favor of the Tharks, and they want to use him as their secret weapon against the warring Zodangians. Reluctant to fight again, Carter only agrees to take up the cause when he sees the injustices being done to the friendly tribes, and it reaches a climax when he first meets Princess Dejah (Lynn Collins).
Carter is a true hero, standing up for injustice and those who cannot fight for themselves. He is a sort of "savior," sent from another world to their planet to make right what is wrong, and to show them the truth of what has been going on along. He shatters their false idols, and shows that they have nothing to fear.
John Carter can be a little ridiculous at times, especially hearing Kitsch yell out names from Burroughs' make believe language. The speedy slug-dog brought in for laughs got a couple of groans as well, but I enjoyed the film as it is truly an escape from reality if you give it a chance. Sure, we've seen a lot of the same type of imagery before in films like Avatar or the Star Wars prequels, but you have to remember that this story was written at least thirty years before George Lucas or James Cameron were born. The visuals are fantastic, and the CGI is wonderfully done, and looks stellar on Blu-ray. Director Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo) does a fine job adapting the classic in my opinion, and the release to the small screen should bring new life to the series, and maybe even grounds for a sequel.
Bonus features revolve mostly around Disney's new "Second Screen" app, which enables the viewer to watch the film while simultaneously checking out special, behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the flick via your laptop or iPad. The app worked well in the latest addition to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and Disney seems to be tweaking it further to make it even more interactive this time around. This kind of feature might not be for everyone, but I'm the type that is always multitasking and looking up trivia on IMDB while I'm watching, so it's right up my alley.
It also comes with the standard commentary, deleted scenes, and bloopers, but the other two featurettes, "360 Degrees of John Carter" and "100 Years in the Making," are particularly interesting and give a lot of backstory to the film. The first is all about the making of the film, and it's cool to get to get to see all the work that went into creating such a fantastical, other-worldly adventure complete with realistic aliens, and the second is really cool for fans of the original stories. It delves back into Burroughs' history and what went into adapting the film from the book, as well as their legacy, and how hard it has been to finally bring it to the big screen.
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